Athletics: Malaysia runner says official gave drugs

Kuala Lumpur: A gold medal-winning Malaysian athlete who failed a drug test at the Southeast Asian Games has claimed in a sworn statement that a top athletics official arranged his supply of banned substances, reports said on Tuesday.

Mohammad Yunus Lasaleh, who was part of his country`s 4X400m relay team at the November games in Indonesia, said Malaysian Athletic Union (MAU) deputy president Karim Ibrahim introduced him to a Bulgarian who provided the drugs, according to The Star newspaper and New Straits Times.

Yunus was told the pills "could help me win gold", The Star quoted Yunus`s statement as saying. It said several coaches and athletes also were party to the statement.

AFP was unable to reach Yunus, Karim, or top officials at the MAU for comment today.

Two Malaysians -- Yunus and a bronze medal-winning Malaysian weightlifter whose identity has yet to be revealed -- tested positive for banned substances at the Games.

They both face likely two-year bans and the loss of their medals.

The reports said Yunus`s sworn statement to the MAU claimed Karim in September told him to meet with the Bulgarian, who was not identified.

Yunus said he was provided with pills he was told were vitamins and also received injections two or three times a week, the reports said.

"The doctor informed me that they were B-complex shots for recovery after training," he was quoted saying.

The Star said Karim is also alleged to have told six sprinters not to provide urine samples for doping tests as requested by the National Sports Institute in May of last year. It gave no further details on that claim.

A memorandum from 42 national athletes and 16 coaches was handed to MAU president Shahidan Kassim yesterday calling for Karim`s sacking.

The New Straits Times, in a report on its website, quotedShahidan saying he did not have the power to remove Karim.

"Anybody can make allegations, that does not mean they are the truth," he was quoted saying before going into a meeting with the memo`s signatories.